Getting Started

See our website or our research papers for an in-depth read on how Geneva works.

This documentation will provide a walkthrough of the main concepts behind Geneva, the main components of the codebase, and how they can be used.

This section will give a high level overview on how Geneva works; before using it, you are strongly recommended to read through How it Works.

What is a Strategy?

A censorship evasion strategy is simply a description of how network traffic should be modified. A strategy is not code, it is a description that tells the strategy engine how it should manipulate network traffic.

The goal of a censorship evasion strategy is to modify the network traffic in a such a way that the censor is unable to censor it, but the client/server communication is unimpacted.

Strategies & Species

Because Geneva commonly identifies many different strategies, we have defined a taxonomy to classify strategies into.

The Strategy taxonomy is as follows, ordered from most general to most specific:
    1. Species: The overarching bug a strategy exploits
    1. Subspecies: The mechanism used to exploit the bug
    1. Variant: Salient wireline differences using the same bug mechanism

The highest level classification is species, a broad class of strategies classified by the type of weakness it exploits in a censor implementation. TCB Teardown is an example of one such species; if the censor did not prematurely teardown TCBs, all the strategies in this species would cease to function.

Within each species, different subspecies represent unique ways to exploit the weakness that defines the strategy. For example, injecting an insertion TCP RST packet would comprise one subspecies within the TCB Teardown species; injecting a TCP FIN would comprise another.

Within each subspecies, we further record variants, unique strategies that leverage the same attack vector, but do so slightly differently: corrupting the checksum field on a RST packet is one variant of the TCB Teardown w/ RST subspecies of the TCB Teardown species; corrupting the ack field is another.

We refer to specific individuals as extinct if they once worked against a censor but are no longer effective (less than 5% success rate). That formerly successful approaches could, after a few years, become ineffective lends further motivation for a technique that can quickly learn new strategies.

Running a Strategy

For a fuller description of the DNA syntax, see Censorship Evasion Strategies.

# python3 --server-port 80 --strategy "\/" --log debug
2019-10-14 16:34:45 DEBUG:[ENGINE] Engine created with strategy \/ (ID bm3kdw3r) to port 80
2019-10-14 16:34:45 DEBUG:[ENGINE] Configuring iptables rules
2019-10-14 16:34:45 DEBUG:[ENGINE] iptables -A OUTPUT -p tcp --sport 80 -j NFQUEUE --queue-num 1
2019-10-14 16:34:45 DEBUG:[ENGINE] iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 80 -j NFQUEUE --queue-num 2
2019-10-14 16:34:45 DEBUG:[ENGINE] iptables -A OUTPUT -p udp --sport 80 -j NFQUEUE --queue-num 1
2019-10-14 16:34:45 DEBUG:[ENGINE] iptables -A INPUT -p udp --dport 80 -j NFQUEUE --queue-num 2

Note that if you have stale iptables rules or other rules that rely on Geneva’s default queues, this will fail. To fix this, remove those rules.

Strategy Library

Geneva has found dozens of strategies that work against censors in China, Kazakhstan, India, and Iran. We include several of these strategies in . Note that this file contains success rates for each individual country; a strategy that works in one country may not work as well as other countries.

Researchers have observed that strategies may have differing success rates based on your exact location. Although we have not observed this from our vantage points, you may find that some strategies may work differently in a country we have tested. If this is the case, don’t be alarmed. However, please feel free to reach out to a member of the team directly or open an issue on this page so we can track how the strategies work from other geographic locations.


Running these strategies may place you at risk if you use it within a censoring regime. Geneva takes overt actions that interfere with the normal operations of a censor and its strategies are detectable on the network. During the training process, Geneva will intentionally trip censorship many times. Geneva is not an anonymity tool, nor does it encrypt any traffic. Understand the risks of running Geneva in your country before trying it.